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Exclusive: ‘Women today must be armed with the strength and confidence to speak their opinion’

ILANIT MELCHIOR, Tourism manager for the Development Authority in Jerusalem, who attended a business conference dedicated to women in Bucharest this week, talked to us about the role of the woman nowadays. In her opinion, women should not compete with men to achieve success, for they have other major advatanges when pursuing goals, meaning they are ‘more focused and less driven by ego.’ Find out what is the latest trend among the Orthodox women in Jerusalem and about Jerusalem’s new tourism strategy in the exclusive interview below.

Ilanit Melchior

Ilanit Melchior


What is the message you delivered to the Romanian women attending the Business Women Forum Romania event on March 7?

There are commonalities between the challenges that women are facing around the world, such as those facing women in Jerusalem and Romania. In these locations, women are struggling to achieve salaries, status and recognition that are similar to males. I’m optimistic that we can achieve new heights as long as women are driven by motivations that inspire them, regardless of religion, culture or biases. As an example, in Jerusalem, orthodox women are breaking all forms of barriers by building impressive businesses, developing innovative solutions and employing fellow women to not only support their families but are driving change to their current status.

What do you think is a must-have for a woman in order to do well in her career, to pursue her professional plans?

Women today must be armed with the strength and confidence to speak their opinion and that she does not need to act like a man or compete with them to achieve success.


In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges of the woman nowadays?


The biggest challenges for women is the ability to juggle between their careers, families, and professional growth.


What would be a woman’s advantages and disadvantages in setting up a business compared to a man?

Women are more focused and less driven by ego always aiming to accomplish the tasks under their responsibilities. Women will always come to any meeting with the necessary data, metrics and facts as hard proofs. Women understand that it is much more important to get the job done than to be defined by ego.

Unfortunately, women are often not prepared to push enough to reach the level or status of actual decision maker.


What is exactly your mission as director of Tourism at the Jerusalem Development Authority?

My role as the Director of Tourism is to brand Jerusalem as an international destination that is on par and can compete with global destinations like Berlin, Barcelona and London.


In your view, what are Jerusalem’s cornerstones in becoming a stronger tourist attraction?

In 2017, we increased inbound tourism by 37%. The impressive increase is due to the city’s decision to focus on FIT travel as well as creating specific, tailor-made, packages for a diverse range of audiences. Our City Break package offers a unique combination of tours, experiences and entrances to the city’s best venues and still providing value to the tourist. Jerusalem is driven by a mission to change the image and misperceptions of Jerusalem. In March 2017, for example, Jerusalem hosted the largest travel bloggers conference, TBEX, which brought over 400 travel bloggers, influencers and content creators to experience the city on their terms. This conference yielded an impressive social reach of over 80 million people, provided the city with significant content from the millennial generation, and has offered invaluable opportunities for future global leading conferences to be hosted in Jerusalem.

Despite the issue of security, a topic that constantly lingers on the city, Jerusalem has succeeded in building a toolbox that offers valuable solutions to cities unfamiliar with these issues and enables them to emerge stronger, unified and prepared for any challenging scenario.


What is the current situation of the Church of Holy Sepulchre, recently closed? If you want to explain the situation a little bit, as it is a major tourist sight in Jerusalem, especially around Easter? Will this affect the tourism at present in the city?

The relationship between Jerusalem, the Churches and the State of Israel is very important. The Prime Minister has appointed a dedicated committee to maintaining and strengthening the relationship among all parties. Like all cities around Israel, Jerusalem recognizes and respects the religious sites in the city, but is not able to offer an exemption to the commercial components of these locations.


What is the your message for the Romanian tourists who would like to visit Jerusalem?


Jerusalem is a vibrant tourism destination offering a wonderful mix of history, culture, and innovation. It is a city where everyone can find their niche and connect to a specific aspect of Jerusalem. Our City Break packages allow tourists to explore, experience and engage with the city in a unique way.

About Alina Grigoras Butu